The Euro 2012 group stage is finally over and 8 teams remain in the hunt for the European Cup. Germany are now slight favourites over Spain with everyone else seen as underdogs. It was an interesting group stage with Group A springing a few surprises as Russia and Poland crashed out in the final match of their group. In Group B, Holland struggled to get going after a shock defeat against Denmark denting their confidence, to allow Portugal to take the second spot. In Group C, Spain pulled out the results after a tough draw with fellow qualifiers Italy. In Group D, England edged out Ukraine on the final day to take top spot and to secure a match-up with Italy in the next round.
The strongest performances of the group stage came from Germany and Spain, and the bookies rightly have them down as the favourites. With both teams finishing top of their respective groups, they now avoid each other until the final. For any fantasy manager, it would be a wise choice to fit as many of their players into their team as possible. For further analysis, here are the 4 quarter finals on offer:
CZECH REPUBLIC vs PORTUGAL (Thursday 21st June, 19:45 ko)
Portugal go into this match as the favourites, after an impressive performance in the group stage. Ronaldo threatened in every game and finally found the back of the net in the final game against the Dutch. He will be full of confidence and the Czechs will have the tough task of keeping him quiet if they are to progress. However, we think Ronaldo will be too much for them and it’s fair to say that Portugal are more likely to go through at their expense.
Also consider: Pepe and Nani
GERMANY vs GREECE (Friday 22nd June, 19:45 ko)
Greece is a country currently in turmoil but for now, that can wait as their team battled against the odds to set up a grudge match against Germany. The Greek people deserve a lift but they shouldn’t go into this game with high expectations. Germany are massive favourites and rightly so, they will cause the Greek defence many problems on Friday night, and it would be a significant upset if Greece somehow progress. With this in mind, fantasy managers should look to the German side for reinforcements. Clearly, Gomez will be a popular option with him spearheading the German attack, whilst Ozil and Schweinsteiger remain the creative forces in the German midfield. In defence, Hummels has drawn many admirers and remains a strong fantasy player offering potential for points at both ends of the field.
SPAIN vs FRANCE (Saturday 23rd June, 19:45 ko)
Although, France lost their last group game against Sweden, Spain will still have to perform much better than they did against Croatia if they are to progress. Spain have shown glimpses of their class but worryingly, they were below-par against Croatia, who could have won the game if they had taken their chances in the second half. This game is difficult to call but with the quality Spain have, they will be favourites. Spain will once again look to control possession but France will pose a serious threat on the counter attack. It remains to be seen whether Torres will hold onto his position up top, so the safer Spanish options would be Silva and Iniesta, although Silva may not see out the complete game with Jesus Navas likely to come on at some point. For France, Benzema and Ribery will be looking to break quickly and could cause the Spanish backline some problems come Saturday night.
ENGLAND vs ITALY (Sunday 24th June, 19:45 ko)
Despite finishing top of Group D, England have struggled with possession and have not played brilliantly. If they are to beat Italy, they will need to grind out another result with Rooney being the main focal point. His quality is clear to see and the Italians will be keeping a close eye on him. Hodgson is unlikely to make any changes and will look to keep it tight, so there may not be many goals in this match. Italy will go into this game with confidence and there is a chance that Balotelli may be reinstated to the starting eleven after coming off the bench to score against Ireland. This is a tight game to call, both teams are likely to create chances and it will come down to who is more clinical.
Also consider: Cole, Young, Pirlo and Cassano
P.S. Come on ENGLAND!!
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